Because you have asthma, your airways are very sensitive. They may react to things called triggers (stimuli that can cause asthma episodes). Your airways may become swollen, tighten up, and produce excess mucus in the presence of one or more of the triggers below. These triggers may make asthma symptoms worse or keep you from getting better. It’s important to find out what your asthma triggers are. Learn ways to avoid them. If you cannot avoid triggers, and your medicine plan does not work as well as you and your health care provider think it should, you both should discuss allergy shots (immunotherapy).
Ask your health care provider to help you find out what your triggers are and to decide which actions will help the most to reduce your asthma symptoms.
Number each action item in order of importance. Carry out these actions first.
Once you have completed these actions, move on to actions that are of lesser importance.
Discuss the results of these efforts with your health care provider.
Pollen and Molds (outdoors)
Stay indoors during the midday and afternoon when the pollen count is high.
Use air conditioning, if possible.
Keep windows closed during seasons when pollen and mold are highest.
Avoid sources of molds (wet leaves, garden debris, carpet over concrete floors).
Use insect sprays; but have someone else spray when you are outside of the home.
Air out the home for a few hours after spraying.
Use roach traps.
House Dust Mites
These are actions you should take to
gain control of dust mites:
______ Encase your mattress and box spring in an airtight cover.
______ Either encase your pillow or wash it once a week every week.
______ Avoid sleeping or lying on upholstered furniture.
______ Remove carpets that are laid on concrete.
______ Wash your bed covers, clothes, and stuffed toys once a week in hot (130° F) water.
These actions will also help you gain control of dust mites – but they may not be
______ Reduce indoor humidity to less than 50 percent. Use a dehumidifier if needed.
______ Remove carpets from your bedroom.
______ Use chemical agents to kill mites or to change mite antigens in the house.
______ Avoid using a vacuum or being in a room while it is being vacuumed.
______ If you must vacuum, one ore more of the following things can be done to reduce the amount of dust you breathe in: Use a dust mask, use a central vacuum cleaner with the collecting bag outside the home, use a vacuum cleaner that has powerful suction.
Dander refers to flakes in the skin, hair, or feathers of all warm-blooded pets including dogs, cats, birds, and rodents. There is no such thing as an allergenfree dog. The length of a pet’s hair does not matter. The allergen is in the saliva, urine, and dander.
Remove the animal from the house or school classroom.
If you must have a pet, keep the pet out of your bedroom at all times.
If there is forced air heating in the home with a pet, close the air ducts in your bedroom.
Wash the pet weekly.
Avoid visits to friends or relatives with pets.
Take asthma medicine (cromolyn or beta2-agonist; cromolyn is often preferred) before
visiting homes or sites where animals arepresent.
Choose a pet without fur or feathers (such as a fish or a snake).
Avoid products made with feathers, for example, pillows or comforters.
Also avoid pillows, bedding, and furniture stuffed with kapok (silky fibers from the seed
pods of the silk-cotton tree).
Use a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.
Keep bathrooms, kitchens, and basements well aired.
Clean bathrooms, kitchens, and basements regularly.
Do not use humidifiers unless humidity drops below 15%
Use dehumidifiers for damp basement areas, with humidity level set for less than
50% but above 25%. Empty and clean unit regularly.
Do not smoke.
Do not allow smoking in the home.
Have household members smoke outside.
Do not allow any smoking in your bedroom.
Encourage family members to quit smoking.
Their health care provider can help them quit.
Use an indoor air-cleaning device (for smoke, mold, and dander).
Avoid using a wood burning heat stove to heat your home. The smoke increases
lower respiratory symptoms.
Avoid using kerosene heaters.
Strong Odors and Sprays
Do not stay in your home when it is being painted. Allow enough time for the paint
Avoid perfume and perfumed cosmetics such as talcum powder and hair spray.
Do not use room deodorizers. § Use non-perfumed household cleaning
products whenever possible.
Reduce strong cooking odors (especially frying) by using a fan and opening windows.
Avoid air pollution by staying indoors on days when the pollution count is high.
Colds and Infections
Avoid people with colds or the flu.
Get rest, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly.
Talk to your health care provider about flu shots.
Do not take over-the-counter remedies, such as antihistamines and cough syrup,
unless you speak to your health care provider first.
Work out a medicine plan with your health care provider that allows you to exercise
Take inhaled beta2-agonist or prescribed anti-inflammatory medicine before
Warm up before doing exercise and cool down afterwards.
Wear a scarf over your mouth and nose in cold weather.
Pull a turtleneck over your nose on windy or cold days.
Dress warmly in the winter or on windy days.
You may want to avoid products that could possibly contain the preservative sulfite.
Among these are: precut or dried fruit, fresh mushrooms, processed potatoes, pickled
foods, shrimp, cherries , beer, or wine.
Remember: Making these changes will help keep asthma episodes from starting. An asthma trigger control plan is an important part of controlling asthma